Thirteen-year-old Maddie Ziegler found fame as the breakout star of Lifetime’s Dance Moms, on which she was spotted by enigmatic pop star Sia. The camera-shy singer made Ziegler the focal point of her stunning video for “Chandelier” (two more followed) and in short order, other TV shows came calling. Ziegler tested her acting chops with guest spots in Pretty Little Liars, Austin & Ally and Ricky, Nicky, Dicky and Dawn and began to ponder a career outside the dance studio.
On Monday, she joins Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo at the So You Think You Can Dance judges’ table as the long-running FOX hit welcomes its first season of ultra-talented child dancers. Dubbed “The Next Generation,” Season 13 features kids between the ages of 8-13 partnering with SYTYCD All-Stars to compete for the title. “It’s going to be weird for me being on the other side of it, not being the one being judged,” admits Ziegler, literally a lifelong fan of the show, “but it’s going to be so much fun!” The Pittsburgh native makes her feature film debut later this year opposite Naomi Watts, Dean Norris and Room standout Jacob Tremblay in The Book of Henry — but first, we asked her to dance her way through our “5 Questions.”
1) If your TV only carried three shows or networks, which would you choose?
That’s hard! I’d choose Pretty Little Liars, Food Network and if Gossip Girl was back, probably that.
2) What are three foods you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
Cranberry juice, blueberries and Cap’n Crunch!
3) Tell us about a memorable fan encounter
Fans always bring us presents and I think that is so sweet, but one time this girl saw us, and she fainted! I was like, “Oh my gosh, that is so crazy.” She had to get rushed out to the doctor or the hospital or something.
4) Tell us about a time when you were starstruck.
When I did Pretty Little Liars, because that is probably my favorite show. I was so excited to work with Troian [Bellisario] and everyone. It was so cool!
5) What is a movie you can watch over and over again?
I have a lot! I love Pitch Perfect. I watch that one a lot, and then I also watched Room three times already! I was literally crying the whole movie, but it’s hard not to watch it again because it’s so good — and it’s cool to see my friend Jacob in it.
So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation airs Mondays at 8/7CT on FOX.